A Chromebook is an excellent and (often) cheap alternative to most laptops running Windows or macOS. However, the common consensus is that you can’t really perform resource-intensive tasks like editing photos and videos on a Chromebook.
The market’s shift to mobility is changing everything. The full desktop apps you know and love are still missing from Chromebooks. Thankfully, most Chromebooks now have access to Android apps through the Google Play Store. Some can even take advantage of Linux apps. There are some mobile-focused photo editing apps and video editors for Chromebooks available that even professionals can live with. Some Chromebooks can have very high specs, like the Google Pixelbook Go or the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2. This can make Chrome OS machines much more feasible editing computers.
Let’s get started and go through the best ones you should consider downloading.
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best photo and video editing apps regularly as new ones launch.
The best video editors for Chromebooks
Gone are the days when you absolutely needed an expensive Windows or macOS computer. Now you can edit videos on a Chromebook thanks to a plethora of available apps. The process comes with its limitations, but you would be surprised to see how good these options are. Let’s tell you about the best video editing software for Chromebooks you should consider downloading.
1. PowerDirector Android app
PowerDirector is a popular desktop video editor, and its mobile version is a great tool to edit video on a Chromebook. The UI is very similar to what you would see in the PowerDirector desktop version, so there are chances you are already used to the experience.
This is as full as a video editing app for Chromebooks can get. It can trim clips, add effects, adjust the look, overlay audio, add music, stabilize shaky video, rotate, fix exposure, enhance colors, and export in 4K quality. It’s a free app, but unlocking certain improvements requires in-app purchases.
2. KineMaster Android app
KineMaster is one of the best video editors for Chromebooks. It has a simple layout but plenty of features to edit videos on a Chrome OS device efficiently. Capabilities include a multi-layer timeline, color adjustments, trimming, cropping, speed control, and 4K support. In addition, it has access to an asset store for acquiring music, transitions, clips, and more.
It can be used for free with ads, but a subscription will unlock more advanced features. Additionally, the free version watermarks your exported videos.
3. WeVideo web app
No Android app support? No problem! WeVideo is a cloud-based web app to edit videos on a Chromebook. It offers an experience similar to a desktop video editor and arguably beats the Android apps listed above.
The service supports multiple video and audio tracks, giving you the freedom to go all out with multiple clips. Transitions, 4K exporting, titles, rotation, cropping, animations, and effects are only some of the included features. You can sync with cloud storage services too, and WeVideo offers its own cloud storage solution (storage space depends on the plan you choose). Not to mention it comes with access to stock video, audio, and images.
The free WeVideo version will output a watermarked video and offer minimal services. WeVideo’s free plan is essentially a trial, as it limits functionality significantly and only allows five minutes of video production per month. A paid subscription can replace desktop video editing software for many users, though.
4. Adobe Premiere Rush
Adobe’s reputation precedes them, and it’s a good one. Their creative applications are some of the best in the industry, trusted by professionals worldwide. Premiere is one of the most popular video editing desktop programs. While you won’t get the full editor with Adobe Premiere Rush, this mobile iteration is pretty advanced.
The app features a timeline format, much like the real deal. From here, you can arrange videos, audio, photos, and more. Trimming, cropping, flipping, and mirroring are some added capabilities you will enjoy. You can even create pan and zoom effects. The best part is that most of its functionality is free. Of course, you can upgrade for more content and additional features, but the free version is competent.
Not everyone is a great video editor. Even if you are, this is a very time-consuming activity. This is why Magisto has become one of the best video editing software for Chromebooks.
Magisto has a variety of templates to make videos of all kinds. You can pick one and then throw all your videos, photos, and audio files at Magisto, and it will work its magic to produce a great video. To add a nicer touch to your videos, you can access a library of stock clips (iStock) and royalty-free music and add those to your creations.
Magisto has no free plan, but you get a free seven-day trial, and prices aren’t too high.
The best photo editing apps for Chromebooks
There are plenty of options for those who want to edit photos on their Chromebooks. You can choose from Android apps, web-based editing tools, as well as Linux apps. Some of these services are simple and free, while others offer more features and require a monthly subscription. Which one is right for you depends on your wants and needs.
1. Google Photos
Those who want to stay within the Google ecosystem and don’t need super fancy features can edit photos on a Chromebook with Google Photos. The app you already use for image storage and organization can apply filters, modify colors, fix exposure, and more. It also has many other features, like unlimited storage for high-quality photos, smart searching tools, and auto improvements.
If your editing needs aren’t very demanding, you may already have the best photo editing tool for your needs.
2. Adobe Lightroom app for Android
Thanks to Android app support through the Google Play Store, Chromebooks have access to millions of apps previously reserved for smartphones and tablets. These include Adobe Lightroom, a prevalent photo editing software among professionals and enthusiasts.
While Lightroom can’t do heavy image manipulation, it can take care of most edits. Lightroom makes it quick and easy to fix exposure, color, perspective, crop, and much more. Just keep in mind it comes as part of Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions. You can use it for free, but you’ll miss out on some key features like RAW support, cloud storage, selective adjustments, healing brush, batch editing, and more.
If you decide to pay for an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, you can also use the Lightroom web app in any browser. Because Lightroom can work from the cloud, this means you don’t need dedicated hardware and software to use it. You can edit photos on a Chromebook straight from Adobe’s servers.
This is great for those of you with older Chromebooks with no Google Play Store support. Chromebooks also tend to have limited storage, and not installing the Android app can save you some space.
3. Snapseed Android app
Snapseed is among the best apps to edit photos on a Chromebook, and it is very similar to Lightroom. Google purchased the company responsible for making Snapseed back in 2012. Since then, its popularity has continued to increase. It is known for its simplicity and abundant feature set. The app is also free, so you might as well give it a go.
4. Pixlr web app
If you want a web app that is more similar to Photoshop, Pixlr is one of the best options to edit photos on a Chromebook. It can be used with any browser and supports a plethora of features, including layers, image manipulation, exposure/color enhancements, drawing, and more.
Pixlr offers a free version with basic editing tools and limited overlays/stickers. It’s also ad-supported, so you might get annoyed by advertising from time to time. Paying a monthly subscription gets you full access to all tools, AI features, and added overlays and stickers. It also gets rid of ads.
5. Gimp Linux app
Gimp is loved among photographers and designers, and some of you may be lucky enough to be able to use it to edit photos on a Chromebook. Every Chrome OS device launched after 2019 should feature Linux app support unless the manufacturer specifies otherwise. If your device has Linux app support, you are in luck because the Gimp Linux app is a full-featured desktop-class photo editor that challenges Photoshop. And it’s free!